NHL Rumors: Evgeni Malkin to Explore Free Agency Amid Penguins Contract Talks

Doric SamJuly 11, 2022

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 13:  Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins warms up prior to the start of Game Six of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New York Rangers at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 13, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin could find a new home this offseason.

TSN's Darren Dreger reported Monday that Malkin will hit the open market Wednesday after opting to become a free agent for the first time in his career. Dreger noted that Malkin "wants to see what his options are."

On Monday, Josh Yohe of The Athletic reported that the Penguins have offered Malkin a new three-year contract, but the 35-year-old is seeking a four-year deal. Yohe noted that the two sides are "making progress" in their negotiations, as Pittsburgh general manager Ron Hextall and Malkin's agent J.P. Barry have "discussed partial parameters of a potential four-year deal."

Malkin has spent his entire NHL career with the Penguins after he was drafted second overall in 2004. He debuted for the team during the 2006-07 campaign and won the Calder Memorial Trophy that season as the league's best rookie. He went on to earn seven All-Star selections and won the Hart Memorial Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award in 2012 when he led the league with 109 points.

Malkin has helped lead the Penguins to three Stanley Cup championships. Malkin is one of the last remnants of Pittsburgh's dynasty along with Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang.

However, injuries have caught up with the Russia native in recent years. Malkin has appeared in under 70 games in each of the last four seasons, and he's underwent two ACL surgeries in his career.

Despite Malkin's dip in production, he is still a popular figure in the Penguins organization, and the team likely has a strong desire to have him end his playing career in Pittsburgh.